In this webinar presentation, Dr. Susan Hyman discusses issues relating to diet and autism, including why individuals with autism express heightened food selectivity, what problems can arise as a result of that food selectivity, and evidence that exists for dietary interventions and their benefit for people with autism.
There are many reasons why an autistic individual may express food selectivity, such as sensory difficulties with the smell or texture of a food item, an interruption of their eating routine, or food neophobia (anxiety about trying new foods). Regardless, food selectivity is more common among autistic individuals than in neurotypical individuals. Some results of this heightened food selectivity among autistic individuals are a higher prevalence of obesity in children and adults on the spectrum as compared with the general population and a higher risk of nutrient deficiency. At certain levels, nutrient deficiencies can lead to more serious health problems such as eye problems, hypothyroidism, and scurvy.
Dr. Hyman discusses research which has been done about the effects of dietary change on the symptoms of autism, including research into the gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet which has gained a lot of traction in the autism community. So far, the results from studies into this diet have been inconclusive, and there are many difficulties involved in studying the effects of dietary intervention in autistic individuals. For this reason, Dr. Hyman suggests for parents to be cautious about dietary intervention for their children, and if they do choose to do so, do it with the guidance of a nutritionist.
Diet and Autism
Initial Air Date: Jul 26, 2018